Trams in Bordeaux to not need overhead wires – response from Cllr Roger Symonds

Hi Dave

Your graph gives only NO2.  The council does not measure PM10s or PM2.5s (as you probably know these are tiny particulates given off from diesels and from friction on the road and from brakes etc…)  There is a Council report on air pollution in Bath, which came to the Transport Policy Development and Scrutiny panel, recommending no action.  I could not understand the report or the presentation of it and neither could my colleagues on the PDS Panel.

However there is a record of local politicians trying to improve air quality, both the Conservatives in 2010 and subsequently the Lib Dems tried to limit HGVs coming into Bath – I am informed that 40% of pollution on London Road is caused by 10% of traffic, HGVs – but this was opposed by Wiltshire CC, the Highways Agency and finally DfT told us we could not go ahead.  The Lib Dems have tried hard to get local powers where we could enforce weight limits from Govt, but despite these powers being available to the Welsh Govt and in London, so far Govt has failed to devolve these powers.  We could then enforce weight limits along the Paragon/George Street, which would deter through traffic.

However, as you say this is tinkering.  The real problem is too much polluting traffic in the city.  The only way to reduce this pollution is to reduce this traffic.  The more people who walk and cycle the better and this is reflected in the new Council Transport Strategy.  The Strategy also looks for modal shift of getting people out of cars and on to public Transport.  However buses are held up by congestion (Council’s problem) and bus fares are too expensive, except for elderly persons (Bus Company’s problem).  A Park and Ride to the east of Bath is supported by all Parties.  In this context Trams look very attractive.  Using the system that is used in Bordeaux, where the power is between the rails underground and covered by a plastic strip (see picture below), there would not be a wire problem

It has long been my view that there is not the political will for a comprehensive system of sustainable transport in Bath, which means a drastic reduction of cars in the city centre.  More power to your elbow.

New Trams in Bordeaux – no wires or cables anywhere



Cllr Roger Symonds
Lib Dem – Bath and North East Somerset

Public Transport Champion
Member of LGA Economy, Environment, Housing and Transport Board
22 Combe Road Combe Down
Bath BA2 5HX

t:  01225832144

On 12 Apr 2015, at 20:25, dave andrews wrote:

Dear Martin,

it was  a great pleasure to meet you at the Trams for Bath meeting week before last and thank you for coming.

I would like to formally ask you what the council’s policy is to lower pollution to acceptable levels given that it is well above the legal limit. See chart below.

This pollution and the equally deadly PM10s comes from vehicle exhausts.

All the measures suggested by the 2 main parties for dealing with traffic are simply fiddling around the edges and will not change the levels becuase they all rely on keeping vehicle numbers driven by engines into the city at a high level.

The only proven way to lower pollution, and to generally make life more pleasant is to introduce trams as have many continental cities for this reason ( amongst others).

I look forward to your response.

With kind regards

Dave Andrews

40 µg/m3 (EU[1], limit value for human health, annual mean)


Nitrogen dioxide 5

One of the chief pollutants from vehicle emissions is nitric oxide, which through oxidation creates nitrogen dioxide (NO2). It plays a major role in atmospheric reactions that produce ground-level ozone or ‘smog’. This is the main pollutant by which air quality is assessed. 6

In 2009 the highest concentration of NO2 was recorded at Lambridge (just east of the junction with the old Gloucester Road) with an annual mean of in excess of 80μg/m3. 7

Results from automatic monitoring of nitrogen dioxide in 2012 show that all sites except at Saltford exceeded the annual average objective (two diffusion tube monitoring locations on the A4 in Saltford did exceed the annual average objective). All these sites are within Air Quality Management Areas. 8

The London Road, Guildhall and Windsor Bridge sites exceeded the hourly objective for NO2, but they were less than the 18 times allowed by the objective in 2012. 9


The trend data shows that 2012 was not a peak year for NO2, with monitoring results being similar to previous years, 2 sites were lower than 2011 and 3 sites higher. 10

David Andrews